By Mary Vee
Genesis 42: 25-36
Reuben loaded the last sack of grain on a donkey. He glanced back at the prison where the Egyptian governor locked up his brother, Simeon. "We'll be back for you," he called, even though Simeon wouldn't hear. The remaining eight brothers echoed his words.
Reuben turned toward the road. "Let's go. The sooner we get home and bring Benjamin back for the governor to see, the sooner Simeon will be released from prison."
Levi pulled one of the donkeys forward. "What if the governor doesn't release Simeon?"
"Yeah, Reuben."Asher caught up to him after yanking his donkey four times. "What if the governor puts Benjamin in jail, or worse yet, what if he kills him?"
"I don't know." Reuben sighed. He grabbed a rope to lead his donkey. "Let's do one step at a time. For now, we'll take the food home to our families, pack up Benjamin then take him to the governor."
Issachar shook his head. "You think for one minute Father's going to let us take Benjamin to Egypt? He watches him with eagle's eyes."
Reuben rubbed his hands together then held them against his face. "Ever since we sold Joseph as a slave to those Ishmaelites there's been nothing but trouble."
"I wonder--" Judah paused. He stroked his beard and glanced back toward Egypt. "I wonder what happened to Joseph."
The brothers walked silently for a few moments. Reuben glanced back. Are they thinking about Joseph, too?
No one told jokes or stories. They simply sweltered in the heat of the day.
At last Gad broke the silence. "All Father does is mope around the farm. If it weren't for Benjamin, he'd have died years ago."
Reuben knew he was right. What am I going to do? What can I say to Father to get permission to take Benjamin to Egypt? Simeon can't wait in jail forever. There must be a way. There must!
Reuben pushed his brothers to travel further than a usual day's walk. "Just a little further. We need to hurry home." When he finally let them set up camp, each brother rushed to do their chores. Even Reuben had trouble keeping his eyes open.
One reached for his sack of grain to feed his donkey. He untied the rope and pulled the cloth open. He looked inside then stumbled back a few steps. "Oh No!"
Reuben turned. "What? What's wrong?"
"L--look. Look in my sack!"
Reuben ran to see. He gaped in the opening. "Why is there money in your sack?"
The brother shook his head. "How should I know? I didn't put it here." He pulled the money out of the bag. "It's the exact amount I paid!"
The other brothers yanked their sacks open. "My money is here, too." "So, is mine." "What are we going to do?" "I don't know." "Father's going to think we stole the grain." "You're right. He won't let us take Benjamin back to Egypt to get Simeon." "What are we going to do?"
Reuben sat on the ground and held his head in his hands. "What has God done to us?"
Levi sat on the ground next to Reuben. He sat quietly for a moment then pulled a blade of grass. "Let's leave the money in the grain sacks for now and let Father help us think of a solution."
"Don't you see, Levi?" Reuben's head throbbed. "This--the money, Simeon, the rude governor--all our troubles are happening because of what we did to Joseph."
Judah laid his hand on Reuben's shoulder. "You're right."
Judah sat eye to eye with his brother. "I wish we could undo that day--but we can't. All we can do now is live with the troubles we brought ourselves."
"Trouble is right. We once were twelve brothers, now we are ten. What next?"
The brothers gathered together. Reuben looked each in the eye then pounded his fist in his hand. "We must do our best to right wrongs we've done against God and our father. Tomorrow we continue home, get Benjamin then rescue Simeon."
The Bible says, "Your sins will find you out." Reuben and his brothers know that now. What do you think God wants Reuben and his brothers to do? They don't know that the governor is Joseph, yet. They are heading home without Simeon. They have to convince their father to let them take Benjamin back. So much going on.
How do you feel when you're in the middle of trouble. I've felt overwhelmed, not sure what my next choice should be, even though God tells my heart what I should do. If you could talk to Reuben and his brothers right now, what would you tell them?